Such warplanes have been deployed in recent Saudi attacks on Yemen, according to a small number of press reports. Most of those reports fail to mention BAE.
The high probability that BAE Systems is profiting from war crimes hasn’t damaged its influence.
$5 million salary
King commands an annual salary of £3.5 million ($5.2 million). He recently bragged of how BAE Systems was providing “good support” for the “national objectives” of Saudi Arabia, its number one client.
The new group of arms industry leaders is the latest in a series of initiatives taken by the EU to bolster weapons producers.
After US President George W. Bush declared his “war on terror,” the EU assembled a similar group to draft a plan for a funding scheme on “security research.” Eight representatives of arms companies — among them BAE Systems — were among that group’s members.
Israel was a “central beneficiary” of the funding scheme set up as a result, according to an analysis undertaken at the European Parliament’s request. Israeli firms and institutions took part in 26 percent of the projects financed under the scheme, which was allocated €1.4 billion ($1.5 billion) between 2007 and 2013.
Despite how the scheme was nominally restricted to civilian research, a number of its projects focused on drones, a deadly weapon invented by Israel. Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries, the two main suppliers of drones used repeatedly to bomb Gaza, have both received EU science grants.
The purpose of the new group is to drop the pretense that the EU is only involved in “civilian” research. Another step is being taken towards the greater militarization of Europe.
The Israeli arms industry is not represented on the new group. Yet Israel enjoys an equal status to the EU’s own member countries in the Union’s research actitivites. More than likely, then, Israel’s weapons-makers will be able to soak up whatever subsidies end up being offered.
It is also worth noting that some of the firms on the new group have strong links to Israel.
Furthermore, BAE has manufactured “head-up displays” — a key component of F-16 jets that the US exports to Israel.
Tom Enders and Mauro Moretti, the bosses of Airbus and Finmeccanica, belong to the EU’s new group, too. In 2011, Airbus signed an agreement with Israel Aerospace Industries to develop an “early warning system” for warplanes.
Italy’s Finmeccanica, meanwhile, makes jet trainer aircraft that the Israeli military is buying as part of a $1 billion deal. Two of those aircraft were delivered to the Israeli air force around the time its bombardment of Gaza began last summer.
Some entrepreneurs do rather nicely from Israel’s crimes against humanity. Some of those entrepreneurs sit on the EU’s new group.
The profiteers of war and occupation have been invited to dictate an agenda that Europe’s politicians will surely follow.